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Study reveals true value of 'climate-friendly' lead

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

It’s taken a (presumably) very expensive study to tell the EU what most of us already know, as we report in the latest edition of our weekly e-newsletter, BEST Battery Briefing

The current Batteries Directive is not fit for purpose and Europe’s dream of building a lithium-battery industry to rival Asia will be flawed, unless someone gets a grip on recycling.

But whatever the cost, this independent report is worth its weight in gold for hammering home to sceptical EU policymakers the valuable contribution of lead-acid— not just to an existing “multi-billion euro” batteries industry but also to combating climate change.

Policymakers would do well to learn from our quarterly Batteries & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) magazine— which takes an in-depth look at the critical sector of recycling in the current issue. Click here to read more.

If you’ve not subscribed to BEST, which is available in print and in digital formats, you’re missing out. Give yourself an early festive gift and get it today!

And remember, to keep up with the global battery industry news that matters every week, sign up FREE for BEST Battery Briefing.

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Enersys wraps up mega deal, Trojan unpacks lithium surprise

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

Enersys has invested in an expensive gift with its acquisition of Alpha Technologies, as we report in the latest issue of BEST Battery Briefing...

But the deal shows there is plenty of life in batteries— as is always the case with lead-acid. Securing its grip on the power solutions market— and positioning Enersys’ products as the de facto technology of choice for the lucrative telecoms sector— is a smart move. 

Trojan’s incursion behind lithium lines, following Exide’s example in the US earlier, is another smart move to broaden the business base for lead-battery firms, as we also report.

Meanwhile, China and South Korea continue to cosy up to each other, at least in the batteries business, to take on the rest of the world.

If you're not already signed up to receive the weekly BEST Battery Briefing newsletter, giving you FREE access to our articles in full, click here.

And if you’ve not subscribed to our quarterly Batteries & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) magazine, available in print and in digital formats, you’re missing out. Give yourself an early festive gift and get it today!

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EU energy chief’s about-face on lead?

Mon, 10/29/2018 - 11:26 -- John Shepherd

At last, after months of lobbying, has the EU’s energy chief seen the light and is he now willing to level the playing field for lead-acid and lithium? 

Maroš Šefčovič, cornered by BEST Battery Briefing in Brussels last week, signalled the EU could be about to take a softer line on lead, as we report in our top story.

If Šefčovič is “not unfriendly” to lead, as he claimed, it begs the question: Who has been pushing the anti-lead agenda to date? 

So is there now an open-door invitation for lead to play its rightful role in Europe’s future energy mix? Actions will speak louder than words…

If you're not already a BBB subscriber, you should be if you want the full story on batteries. Each edition of this weekly e-newsletter is supercharged with 'real news', insight and solid journalism. Sign up FREE here.

And make sure you've also subscribed to Batteries & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) magazine— the autumn issue is out now and includes an in-depth and compelling special feature section on the issues and challenges involved in battery recycling. Don't miss it. Click here to subscribe now.

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More cash to keep 'lithium dream' afloat as lead is left to tread water

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

It’s been a year this week since the EU launched its Batteries Alliance to challenge Asia’s dominance of the European lithium battery market. But after months of talking and little concrete action— other than conspiring to kill off lead-acid— the EU’s energy chief now wants to splash more taxpayers’ cash to 'make' things happen. Nothing of course to do with his bid to take over as European Commission president.

Meanwhile, as reported in the latest edition of BEST Battery Briefing (BBB), it’s encouraging to see the wind at the backs of ABC in their deal with Fengfan. Breaking into the Chinese market is a challenge for any industry, let alone batteries. What’s more, the deal involves advanced lead technology. Take note, Brussels!

If you're not already a BBB subscriber, you should be if you want the full story on batteries. Each edition of this weekly e-newsletter is supercharged with 'real news', insight and solid journalism. Sign up FREE here.

And make sure you've also subscribed to Batteries & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) magazine— the autumn issue is out now and includes an in-depth and compelling special feature section on the issues and challenges involved in battery recycling. Don't miss it. Click here to subscribe now.

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Battery diamond's Indian summer?

Mon, 10/08/2018 - 00:00 -- John Shepherd

What’s going on at JCI? Speculation has been rife for several months that the firm’s batteries business, Power Solutions, could be coming up for sale.

The silence is tantalising. But whatever is going on behind the scenes, this battery diamond is adding to its lustre for a potential suitor by strengthening its presence in the Indian market— with longstanding lead-acid partner Amara Raja.

Meanwhile, Angela Merkel has admitted to being “sad” about Europe’s lack of cell production. But Mutti (as she is known in Germany) holds the key to the EU’s financial cookie jar. So better wipe away the tears and back the ILA’s campaign on lead— otherwise she’ll be joining thousands of others confined to the battery industry scrapheap.

If you're visiting this site and are not already a BEST Battery Briefing subscriber, you should be if you want the full story on batteries. Each edition of this weekly e-newsletter is supercharged with 'real news', insight and solid journalism. Sign up FREE here.

And make sure you've also subscribed to Batteries & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) magazine— the world's leading publication on battery manufacture and design and the emerging field of large-scale electrical energy storage. Our autumn edition is out now.

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Saft's train of thought turns to India

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 09:27 -- John Shepherd

It’s been two years since Total gobbled up Saft in a friendly takeover— amid concern that advances in battery technology might become lost in the oil giant’s fossil fuels portfolio. But judging from recent events not a bit of it.

Saft India has now emerged out of a joint venture, pledging to expand investment in keeping up with the heady pace of all things batteries in the Indian market— particularly in the rail and telecoms sectors.
 
This comes on the back of Saft clinching a five-year deal to supply batteries to a Chinese train builder — and launching an ambitious R&D push for advanced lithium-ion and solid-state with partners in Europe.
 
It makes a change to see the battery trade traffic heading into Asia. Vive la différence!

If you're visiting this site and are not already a BEST Battery Briefing subscriber, you should be if you want the full story on batteries. Each edition of this weekly e-newsletter is supercharged with 'real news', insight and solid journalism. Sign up FREE here.

And make sure you've also subscribed to Batteries & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Magazine— the world's leading publication on battery manufacture and design and the emerging field of large-scale electrical energy storage. Our autumn edition will be out soon.

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He who pays the piper calls the tune

Mon, 09/24/2018 - 12:12 -- John Shepherd

Entrepreneurs who spot a gap in the market will beg, steal and borrow to find the cash needed to fund a dream and go for it. So bravo Germany, which as we report this week is taking on the EU over restrictive state-aid policies so it can freely invest in battery production.

Just remember the idiom said to derive from the tale of a piper promised cash to rid the German city of Hamelin of rats: He who pays the piper calls the tune. 

Berlin is not waiting around for a cohesive Europe-wide Batteries Alliance to emerge— as BEST Battery Briefing predicted weeks ago. Angela Merkel is calling the tune to keep battery jobs, research and a developing EV industry on the road. That’s at least music to battery industry ears in Germany if nowhere else in Europe.

If you're visiting this site and are not already a BEST Battery Briefing subscriber, you should be if you want the full story on batteries. Each edition of this weekly e-newsletter is supercharged with 'real news', insight and solid journalism. Sign up FREE here.

And make sure you've also subscribed to Batteries & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Magazine— the world's leading publication on battery manufacture and design and the emerging field of large-scale electrical energy storage. Our autumn edition will be out soon.

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Investors splashing cash to supercharge batteries

Tue, 09/18/2018 - 15:41 -- John Shepherd

There are investors out there who are falling over themselves to pump cash into batteries and energy storage worldwide, as we report in the latest edition of our weekly e-newsletter— BEST Battery Briefing.

Californian ‘start-up’ Farasis— with strong roots in China— says it’s now on the path to start making lithium-ion battery cells in Europe, thanks to a financial boost. Meanwhile, Chinese battery giant Narada has already launched its lead-carbon BESS in Germany.

All this activity from international investors but still nothing tangible from the EU’s Battery Alliance initiative. So, another week and more EU ground conceded to ‘outsiders’. But ironically, that’s probably all for the good, because while EU leaders hammer lead and get in the way of progress on lithium, it’s Asian firms who are leading the rekindling of Europe’s battery industry!

If you're visiting this site and are not already a BEST Battery Briefing subscriber, you should be if you want the full story on batteries. Each edition of this weekly e-newsletter is supercharged with 'real news', insight and solid journalism. Sign up FREE here.

And make sure you've also subscribed to Batteries & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Magazine— the world's leading publication on battery manufacture and design and the emerging field of large-scale electrical energy storage. Our autumn edition will be out soon.

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Lead-acid enters injury time in Europe nursing life-changing wounds

Mon, 09/10/2018 - 14:46 -- John Shepherd

There is only about a minute left on the battery industry’s ‘Doomsday Clock’ to fight for the survival of the lead-acid industry in Europe.

That was the message to last week’s European Lead Battery Conference in Vienna from Eurobat chief Rene Schroeder, as we report in this edition.

But as much as we welcome the battle cry from those whose job it is to champion our industry, their clocks and watches are wrong. As footballers would say, we’re in injury time, lead-acid has been given a kicking thanks to the toxic red tape of Brussels and ignorance of policymakers. We’ve run out of real playing time.

Lead-acid in the EU has been inflicted with life-changing wounds and is now facing defeat on political penalty points. The only thing left to the battery industry’s ‘defenders’ is to speak bluntly to power. Show the red card to those Eurocrats plotting to kill of industry jobs. No more softly-softly cosy briefings and lunches with the same old wet-lettuce platitudes we’ve heard since the 2006 incarnation of the Batteries Directive.

Hard ball is now the only game in town. Get stuck in and make sure every single battery worker and business in Europe knows the names of those ‘Eurocrats’ senselessly plotting to kill off their jobs.

If you're visiting this site and are not already a BEST Battery Briefing subscriber, you should be if you want the full story on batteries. Each edition of this weekly e-newsletter is supercharged with 'real news', insight and solid journalism. Sign up FREE here.

And make sure you've also subscribed to Batteries & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Magazine— the world's leading publication on battery manufacture and design and the emerging field of large-scale electrical energy storage.

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Brexit Britain feeling chill of battery trading winds?

Tue, 08/28/2018 - 13:04 -- John Shepherd

There’s more evidence this week, as if it were needed, of Asia’s desire to dominate on batteries for the global electric vehicles market. 

As we report in our top story, even old battery rivals China and South Korea are cosying up still further, with SK Innovation now expanding its horizons from inside China! 

But the picture might not be so rosy in Europe, and in the UK in particular, where the government has just released a plethora of, frankly, unhelpful 'technical notices' telling businesses how to prepare in the event of a no deal Brexit with the EU.

This comes as one player, Camborne Energy Storage, crashes out of the UK market. It would be wrong to suggest a link between that firm’s failure and Brexit, but the writing’s on the wall and the UK will need to up its game if it really wants to support innovation in the competitive global batteries sector in future.

If you're visiting this site and are not already a BEST Battery Briefing subscriber, you should be if you want the fully story on batteries. Each edition of this weekly e-newsletter is supercharged with 'real news', insight and solid journalism. Sign up FREE here.

And make sure you've also subscribed to Batteries & Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Magazine— the world's leading publication on battery manufacture and design and the emerging field of large-scale electrical energy storage.

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